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Memphis Grizzlies 2018 NBA Draft Prospect Profiles: Grayson Allen

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Believe the hype. Grayson Allen would be a steal at 32.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Kansas vs Duke Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

I know what you’re going to say.

I would hate for Grayson Allen to be on my team.

He’s such a punk!

Did you see his tripping?

I’m here to tell you that Grayson Allen’s tripping and maturity antics don't even tell a quarter of what he is as a basketball player. Underneath all the shenanigans is a real NBA player.

A gritty competitor.

A knockdown shooter.

An electrifying jammer.

A leader on the court.

And most importantly, a winner.

Grayson Allen had a decorated career at arguably the most prestigious program in college basketball history. As a freshman, he burst on to the scene out of nowhere to play a huge role in the team’s 2015 NCAA tournament run. Sophomore year, he became a go-to scorer for the perennial power Dukies— averaging 21.6 points a game. Allen passed on the NBA to graduate and to carry a leadership role on young Duke teams.

Grayson Allen carried the torch passed down from Christian Laettner and JJ Redick as “that Duke guy everybody hates.” Like Laettner and Redick though, Allen proved himself as a legitimate NBA-caliber player.

Can he carry on his success from college? What does his role look like in the NBA? Will he overcome the tripping?(???)


Strengths

Grayson Allen’s most intriguing NBA skill is his outside shooting. Over the course of his four-year career, he shot 38% from downtown, as he could light it up in spot-up situations, off the dribble, and with a man in his face. The ability to hit 3-pointers in these three levels are what usually separates the good shooters from the great ones.

Allen also generates buckets on the move. A lot of his 3’s off the dribble come after he uses a smooth ball-fake and steps over away from an incoming defender. He can create shots off curls and screens both from deep and from mid-range. He also has a nice pull-up jumper from in-between. Most of the elite outside shooters are dangerous in this area — JJ Redick, Kyle Korver, Marco Belinelli, to name a few.

At Duke, Grayson Allen served as a combo guard while initiating the half-court offense at times. This past season, he improved on his playmaking, averaging 4.6 assists a game. In addition, he thrived in transition as both a facilitator and an explosive finisher — where he shows off that impressive 40.5” vertical. If his ability to be a multi-dimensional playmaker translates to the NBA, it could help distinguish himself from being strictly a “3-point marksman.”

Finally, say what you want about his tripping and dirty play, but Grayson Allen plays his ass off. Don’t believe me? Here’s some proof:

And some more:

Is that not enough? Here’s another one:

During his time at Duke, Allen proved time and time again that he’d lay it all on the line for his team. His energy and toughness can shift the momentum of a game. Teams and coaches will take notice. Fans will slowly start to recognize it and embrace him for it, warts and all.

Speaking of warts...


Weaknesses

Yes, Grayson Allen will be under a microscope because of his past maturity issues. If those problems are persistent, unless he’s an All-Star or a key cog to a team’s success, he won’t last long in the league.

Though his steals average (1.7 last season) suggests otherwise, Allen isn’t a great defender, as he mainly generates steals off getting in passing lanes and diving for 50/50 balls. Due to his size (6’4.5” with a 6’7” wingspan), he can really on switch onto guards or small 3’s. NBA defenses has become very switch-happy, which could be a struggle for him.

Allen can handle point guard responsibilities, but he must improve upon his ball-handling. It’s average at best, and if he doesn’t develop it could limit him to just one position — which is basketball purgatory for anyone between positions 2-4. He also lacks a good first step, as he relies on ball-fakes, existing momentum and craftiness to get by his defender. He must continue to enhance those strengths to counteract this weakness.

Finally, with Allen’s age — he’s almost 23 — we don't know his true ceiling and if he’s already reached it. Granted, you could still get a combo guard that could give your team shooting and hustle. But could he evolve into something more?


NBA comparison/Fit with Grizzlies

It’s tough to come up with an NBA comparison for Grayson Allen. He’s not as good ball-handler as most of the elite combo guards (Eric Gordon, CJ McCollum, Bradley Beal). He’s not a lockdown defender like a Gary Harris, who has a similar — but better — offensive game. He’s also more athletic than the prototypical 3-point marksman.

If you want to give him a modern comparison, he’s probably a poor man’s Eric Gordon, or a more athletic Marco Belinelli. In reality though, he’s comparable to shooting guards in the 80’s and 90’s — the Ringer sees Danny Ainge in him.

There’s the common question: “does he fit Grit ‘n’ Grind?” Grayson Allen doesn’t fit the past idea of grit and grind. He's not the guy you don’t want to see in a dark alley. He’s not the guy you want to infuriate. However, Grayson Allen is a gritty competitor that low-key fits the model. Like I said before, his hustle could win over a fanbase quickly.

At the 32nd pick, he’s quite the steal, as he’s shown up in the first round in most mock drafts over the past 3 years — including in most of the ones this season. His shooting, playmaking and hustle would be great in Memphis, as they’re looking to modernize themselves but also distinguish themselves with that “grit ‘n’ grind” style.

Stats found on sports-reference.com.

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